Photo by: WHGrad

Is Homeschooling For You?

Photo by: WHGrad

If someone had told me that one day we would be a homeschooling family, I would have stared at them wide-eyed and told them that they had the wrong crystal ball. I had firm ideas and opinions about homeschooling, the foremost being that it was not for me. That was, until our family became a family of homeschoolers. How does such a change in attitude take place? What is it that found us arriving at this lifestyle choice for our family?

We have always been a family of readers. My husband and I both had very unromantically, yet in a prescient act, packed books for our honeymoon. Leisure time meant reading time. Within the first twenty-four hours of bringing each of our 3 newborn boys home, we held a book in front of them, and they were read to. There were as many books scattered in the toy room as toys themselves.

At three months old, our children were grabbing for books, and chewing on the covers. Nine months old found them crawling over to their own low level bookcase, and pulling out a book for themselves. Yes, it was only to chew, but the recognition of what a book was, and where it was kept, was there.

At fifteen months old, they would open the book, look at the pictures, then make their way to our laps, handing us the books to read to them. As time went on, and we began our weekly trips to the library, we had already begun what was informal homeschooling.

They would choose books of their interest, and we would read to them. They’d become more interested in the subject, so we’d delve further. They would ask questions, we’d go find out more. Soon, our reading had evolved into field trips, hands on activities, renting DVD’s on the subject, and them giving us oral reports on what they had learned.

When the time came for us to look at preschools, as the majority of families do, we made appointments to see several schools. After each scheduled visit, our oldest son would come home and tell us he had felt as if he never had the chance to do any of the things he had wanted to. And so on, with more schools.

The teachers we consulted with felt that perhaps we should wait another year before putting him in school. One year soon became two years. We were now at the kindergarten stage. We had scheduled three visits for him to sit in a kindergarten classroom. With each visit, I’d pick him up, and he’d confess that he really wanted to be home, learning what he wanted to learn more about.

After much discussion and research and meeting with other homeschooling families, we decided to take the plunge and begin kindergarten at home. We would see how it would go. No firm time commitments were made. We would just see.

I remember the happiness on my son’s face, and the excitement in my heart, as we began our first day of learning at home. It was what we had been doing all along.

Is this a permanent commitment for us? We decide year by year.

Is this just for the time being? Perhaps.

Have we decided to homeschool every year? We will decide this on an annual basis.

The liberating thing about homeschooling is that it is up to you and your family to determine for how long, and for what grades, you will homeschool. If we had decided to do this for only one year, it would’ve been wonderful. If it had only turned out to be for six months, that would have been a blessed time with my children, also.

We are a homeschooling family. And we decide year by year, whether we will be a homeschooling family in the year to come. There is no perfect answer and no perfect environment, but this lifestyle we’ve chosen, has brought our family a deeper level of happiness and knowledge of each other that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. We began homeschooling in 2005, and we are still homeschooling in 2010. This works for us now and we will decide whether or not to continue as long as all of us feel happy and satisfied with the style of learning we’ve chosen.

Alexandra writes of small town life as a mother to 3 boys. You can read her blog that she co-writes along with her children, at www.gooddayregularpeople.com.

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88 Comments

Never thought I would homeschool. Then I moved to a county with some of the worst schools in the nation. My first was a child needing lots of hands on and one on one time and would probably be ADHD in a public school. At home...no big deal, we adapt. Then my second and third were all really ahead, my third taught herself to read three! How could I put them in Kindergarten at 5 and 6 when they would be bored senseless...

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I'm glad you've discovered that you can do it! I am the mother of 5 homeschooled people. Three of them are adults now (ages 24, 22, 20) and two are currently homeschooling (ages 12 & 7). I wouldn't have it any other way.

For those who think they can't, let me offer a bit of encouragement: I do this as a single mom with a job.

I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to see this article on homeschooling as it is becoming much more common and is not just for wierdos :) I have been dabbling with preschool with my son and plan on trying homeschool for kindergarted next year. Mostly because I think it will be best for his specific learning needs and certainly foster closeness within our family...

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Great post! My daughter and I are entering our 4th year of homeschooling. I started homeschooling her in preschool and it has been great! Just like you we take it year by year. We are prayerfully considering Montessori for her next year, but we will see. I am pregnant with my second child and plan to homeschool this one at least through preschool and then we will see.

I would love to homeschool. However since we are divorced and have shared custody I would need my son's father's approval, which he would never give. Did anybody did this with a reluctant ex-spouse and shared custody and had success? If so, how did you do it? Please, let me know.
Stephanie

We have seen families that have homeschooled their children that were not organized and were not educated enough themselves to do it well, for that set of children it was a mess. When we did it forthe benifit of 1 of our children we made sure that we found our weak spots and actually had professionals in the fied teach them. Retired science teachers,someone to help with teaching any new languae sign to Tongan was wonderful...

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My daughter is an uprising 7th grader. She wants to be homeschooled in the fall. Are there some students who go to school half day and then homeschool at home rest of the day? Do parents need to register for homeschooling?

What a nice article about homeschooling! I've been educating my children for 16 years now and I can't tell you how much it has been a blessing for all of us! My oldest 3 of the 8 will graduate in December: 1 a year and a half late, 1 a half a year late but he chose to go back to public school part time to play football, and one a year and a half early. Each has different ways of learning and this has just worked the best for us...

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We, too, have chosen to try out homeschooling and so far I love it! I see homeschooling as a deeper experience of parenting, and I can already see how it makes me take a step back from my daughter and see her in ways that I might not otherwise. I loved your post and want to encourage you and say thanks for encouraging others.

We have been a homeschooling family for the last three years, from fourth till this year sixth. My daughter and I sat down at the end of every year and we discuss the up coming year. We discuss if she still wants to be homeschooled and her reason for her answer. The first year she wavered between yes and no till I finally had to say let give it one more year. The next year she started taking science class at our local aquarium and fell in love with Marine Biology...

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I am a second-generation homeschooler. I graduated in 1993 from a homeschool. My sons are now five and seven. We started our homeschooling adventure when my seven-year old was three. We love it, and we would not want to change a thing about it. Our plans are to go all the way through homeschooling!

Great article! It reminds me of myself getting started homeschooling. I was SO against it. The kids and I absolutely love it now. It was the best choice for are family.

I'm like you - I used to think all homeschoolers were weirdos. Then circumstances necessitated that I homeschool both my girls for 2nd & preschool. It was a wonderful experience!

I think my favorite part was the unlimited flexibility we had. Vacation at an off time? No problem. Sick one day? No problem. Don't feel like doing math one day? No problem. Want to play hooky? No problem. Like to sleep in? No problem...

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That's great to hear some parents are homeschooling their children. I am a teacher, who has taught Special Education and general education.I have taught many grade levels from K-6. It takes more than just a child attending school, parents must involve themselves in thier child's education. I happen to live in an area where there are some great public schools...

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Great article! Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm interested in homeschooling. How do people feel about the socialization aspect? Do you think homeschooled children can relate well to others and have good social skills?

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